PEARLAND – Pearland police said they positively identified Erica Hernandez as the body recovered inside her SUV that was found in a retention pond Tuesday evening.
Officials said they were notified on Wednesday by the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police said the investigation is ongoing to determine what lead Hernandez to the area and the cause of death and are awaiting the conclusions of the medical examiner’s report,
“Our investigators will leave no stone unturned, and we will look at anybody and everybody that was involved in this case,” said Jason Wells of Pearland Police Department.
Finding out what happened
On Tuesday, the family patiently waited in the neighborhood as dive teams searched the water and crews removed the vehicle. Ashley Hernandez, Erica’s sister, said the family wanted to see the vehicle but hasn’t been able to yet because it’s considered evidence.
“The car, I mean it’s her car. There’s a body in there, but I don’t really feel anything right now,” said Ashley.
For Ashley, some things just aren’t adding up.
“There’s no reason for her to be over here,” Ashley said. “I think somebody had to have made her go in this direction for whatever reason.”
“I am heartbroken,” Rafael Hernandez, Erica’s brother, told KPRC 2 Wednesday. “I wish I could tell her I love her.”
Rafael said he doesn’t believe this is the result of an accident and suspects foul play.
When asked, “If someone is responsible for your sister’s death, what would you want to tell them?” Rafael replied, “I hope they find you. I hope you get what you deserve for doing this.”
Rafael said closure for his family isn’t finding his sister-- it’s finding out what happened.
“There are no answers and it’s just getting started,” he said.
After three weeks of searching for Hernandez, Houston police said they were led to a small lake at the intersection of Reflection Bay and N. Clear Lake.
After searching the area, investigators found an area that was consistent with a vehicle striking a curb and entering a body of water at the end of the road.
Investigators added that they did find damage to the vehicle, which matched initial reports that the vehicle struck a curb before entering the water.
Authorities said the body that was discovered inside of the vehicle was transported to the medical examiners’ office for identification. Investigators wouldn’t say if the body found was male or female.
Investigators said the vehicle, and the body inside of the vehicle, had been in the pond for an extended period of time, likely around the same time Hernandez was last seen. police said Hernandez, a mother of three, was last seen on April 18.
Investigators would not comment on if they suspect foul-play to be involved or if there was a person of interest in this case, but they did say the investigation is ongoing.
Last week, Texas EquuSearch searched for the missing mother in Missouri City where a vehicle had been found underwater in Buffalo Run Park, but authorities said that vehicle did not match the description of Hernandez’s vehicle.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Henandez’s three children, who range from 3 to 19.
Watch the full news presser below: